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GP Week : Issue 26
Letters email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Impressed? Not Andy Your news story last week 'New Track proves a hit' may have painted a glowing picture of the Valencia street circuit – from an F1 driver's point of view – but as a supporter who watched it on television, the track did little for me. In comparison with the 'street' or part- street circuits we already have, ie Monaco, Spa, Melbourne, the place looked (apart from the old buildings housing the pits) quite sterile. Just loads of concrete, and not much by way of advertising to brighten the fences up either. Maybe it was the way the TV portrayed it (was there an agreed minimum number of times they had to cross to a girl in a bikini on a boat?), but it just didn't get me excited. I know it was just the first year and they obviously got a lot done in a little time to get the event together, but ... as a friend of mine said, after all, it was just a racetrack put in the middle of what used to be a vacant block by a wharf ... In contrast, the image of Singapore's track in the same issue looked inviting – track, fence, water. Of course the text was about drivers' safety concerns! Get a life F1 drivers, it's a street race and you are racing drivers. Get on with it! Andrew McGibbon (UK) email@example.com WRC anomaly The headlines from your last WRC coverage concerned the tactics of the Ford drivers, who actually slowed down late in the second day so as to not be first car on the road, and thus have to 'sweep' the road for the following cars on Day 3. While your coverage highlighted the problem, is there a solution to it? It has been a long time since I went to a rally, but do they still have a '0' Car running in front of the field. If it, or two of them, were relatively current cars, would that provide a solution for something which really does seem to take away the whole spirit of WRC. Putting your life on the line to gain a second or two seems ludicrous if you're prepared to throw it away for a better starting spot next day! Robert Ainsworth Durban, SA (email supplied) 22 Now even the c is playing game MArtin Ethics are confusing. The current rally rules do not HoLMes rallies editor NEW Zealanders had seen the Europeans play their game of running order control before. In 1993 the national sporting media extolled the speed and excellence of rally leader Francois Delecour, never noticing that he clocked in two minutes late at the end-of-day time control, voluntarily losing the lead and forcing Ari Vatanen and Carlos Sainz to run ahead of him on the road the next day. It was a ploy which three stages later saw the now first-running Vatanen going off the road, smashing his suspension and being forced to retire. Nowadays the running order game has different rules. The next day’s running order is defined by the classification at the end of the final orthodox stage of the day, not the official classification at the end of the leg. This is why we have seen such dramatic games in places like Jordan and Turkey this year, and now in New Zealand as well. For a sporting nation like NZ, manipulation of the rules seems a twist to the fair play ethos embedded within their citizens. But then, does it matter? What is the difference between rallying and cricket? In cricket a team declares its innings closed so as to force a result in their favour, and in any case, to make the competition more exciting. And what about the unpleasant business in cricket when your side wins the toss, then orders the other side to bat because the conditions for them would be unfavourable? sit well with Citroen’s motorsport hierarchy. There are tones of moral indignation in their conversation on this topic. So when Sebastien Loeb arrived three minutes late on the final orthodox stage of the Friday, who could believe anything they said on the topic of a ploy? 24 hours later, at the end of the final stage of the Saturday, the same question arose again. Would Sebastien play tricks or not? For those able to be actually at the finish line the tension was high. Rally Radio’s commentator was sent there to report live on what he saw and to tell the world of rally sport. But, there was a problem. Reception in the area of the stage finish control at a junction 5km north of the hamlet of Te Akau was patchy, extremely patchy - exasperatingly patchy in fact. There was no sound from the radio man on the spot at the time when Sebastien was due to cross the finish line. There was silence until suddenly out of the ether, came the report that the Citroen was slowing, crawling along, waiting to cross the finish line at a specially pre-determined time. And tantalisingly the reception cut out again... That little incident summed up the tensions of the whole Citroen versus Ford battle. The running order debate brought an already dramatic event up to fever pitch. Isn’t that what sport is all about? I guess the 2008 Repco Rally New Zealand is going to be remembered more for the unsolved mysteries of Loeb’s starter motor failure and the day when the World Champion tried to win rallies by slowing down instead of going fast … opinion